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FRIEDLÄNDER, JOSEPH ABRAHAM:

German rabbi; born at Kolin, Bohemia, 1753; died at Brilon, Westphalia, Nov. 26, 1852. He was the nephew of David Friedländer, from whom he imbibed a great enthusiasm for progressive Judaism. After attending the Talmud school of Ezekiel Landau at Prague, he went to Presburg. In 1784 he became chief rabbi of Westphalia and the principality of Wittgenstein, retaining this office until his death.

Friedländer was one of the first German rabbis to advocate through speech and pen the reform of Judaism. He abolished in his district the second day of the festivals; openly and decisively opposed many obsolete Jewish mourning customs; and declared, in his responsum on "Die Verträglichkeit der Freien Forschung mit dem Rabbineramte," that the dicta of the Mishnah and the Talmud are not binding for all time. He published "Shoresh Yosef," on abolishing the second day of the festivals (in Hebrew and German; Hanover and Brilon, 1834), and "Mahadura Bathra," a supplement to the foregoing, and containing a correspondence with Aaron Chorin on questions of Reform (Hanover, 1835).

Bibliography:
  • Jost, Neuere Gesch. der Israeliten, i. 316, iii. 175;
  • L. Stein, Israelitischer Volkslehrer, ii. 295 et seq.
S. M. K.
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